Friday, February 23, 2007

Call to Action

The earliest stirrings that led to creation of The Episcopal Majority began among a group of current and retired Episcopal chaplains. Today the following letter was sent to that group by the Rev. David Fly (President, TEM).

Dear Friends,

The recent Communiqué issued by the primates in Dar es Salaam has put the House of Bishops under a deadline to respond to the primates’ demands by September 30. Unfortunately, aside from a number of other issues, the Communiqué represents a misreading of the polity of the Episcopal Church. There are a number of reasons to encourage our bishops to refuse to accept the September 30 deadline and to ultimately say “no” to demands of the Communique itself. These are of deep concern to us; I’m sure you will identify additional ones.

  1. The demand does not take into account our Constitution and Canons.
  2. The bishops should refuse to deal with the demands of the Communiqué until a Covenant is in place defining the limits of foreign intervention – especially the kind of intervention proposed by creation of the Pastoral Council.
  3. The bishops should make it clear that to accept the Communiqué at this time would usurp the process of the Covenant Design Group.
  4. The bishops should say “no” to any moratoriums on legal consecrations or clerical blessings carried out in this Church.
As you may know, our bishops are meeting at Camp Allen, Texas, beginning on March 17. We urge you to write your bishops about your concerns. We need to make our voices heard.


The Rev. David K. Fly
The Episcopal Majority

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Making Martyrs

Making Martyrs (the Rev. Thomas Woodward)

Recognizing that Christ's sacrifice on the Cross was "once for all," it is still true that that sacrifice is reenacted and represented through additional innocent victims, sacrificed by those who cannot abide their presence or what they represent.

Many of us have recognized and been deeply affected by the saving grace of the martyrs of Sharpeville and of Birmingham and Selma. Nearly every posting on the HoBD this list-serve and the progressive blogs points to the impending sacrifice of gay and lesbian Christians within the church and countless throngs outside the church, hoping for some word of affirmation from God. "Sacrifice" may seem too strong a word for a moratorium, except that the message of a moratorium in this case carries the strong message that there are those who can be sacrificed for a greater good -- even by those who represent Jesus. That is an ancient message and, unfortunately, there are plenty who are eager to hear it … and to act on it.

Martyrs, as we all must know, do not always shed blood. Some shed tears, some shed their emotional and spiritual lives if the betrayal or hurt is deep enough. And there is worse.

If, as it appears to many, that we choose Martyn Minns over Matthew Shepherd even for a while, we will create martyrs. It will be the church creating martyrs. And those martyrs will, in time, be saving martyrs, sharing not by choice but by destiny in the saving work of Jesus on the Cross in their humiliation.

It may be for some that the death of Jesus on the Cross, which was accomplished to hold the faith, hold the Empire together, was not enough, not sufficient. Just as for me and for so many others of us in this and every other church, it took the martyrs of Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery for us to begin to understand the humanity of the victims, so it will take more Matthew Shepherds (some Black, some Brown, some Asian) for those who stand against the Episcopal Chruch. How odd that it will be a brother or sister of Matthew who will be the agent of salvation for Peter Akinola and his brothers and sisters in faith, enabling them to see the full humanity and holiness of those they once saw only as sin or threat.

I hesitate in posting this, because I know I can't speak for the experience of others. I can only assume that I am not overstating their case.